60 classes in 60 days: #2

I was super excited to get to the yoga studio last night.  I had some family things going on last week and I hadn’t been since Wednesday.  Not only did I feel like my back was about to snap in half, but I really felt a little crabby.

The evening classes are pretty full, plus the room is super hot from the class prior.  I like to get there as early as possible to acclimate myself to the hotter room, the sweatier smell, and make sure I have my “spot”.   I don’t know why I’m so neurotic about this spot but I have to be there.

The room was even fuller than usual, which means it’s going to be hotter, sweatier, and more distracting.  I still haven’t gotten to the point where I can tune people out around me, especially if I have someone in front of me or right in my line of vision on the side.

Crabby and hot, I grumbled my way through the first few poses.  Then, I got to the standing leg/head to knee pose.  While I haven’t gotten to the point of kicking my one leg out in front of me, I have made some strides with my standing leg.  This is my neuromuscular pose.  I have to straighten my leg, engage my quad and hold it for a minute.  While this seems easy in theory, it’s actually very difficult when you are hot and your hands are sweaty and slippery.  I usually make it for about 20 seconds or 30 seconds before I have to reset but last night I actually made it for the full minute.  Looks like this:

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I know, it’s nothing spectacular.  But for me, being able to pull up my quad and balance on the one leg is a big deal.  It takes a great amount of concentration.  If my quad releases and my knee wiggles, I have to think, “tighten leg” or “lift up knee cap”.  It took me several weeks just to be able to do that on purpose, so now I’m working on being able to hold it there once I get the muscle engaged.

Last night was the first time I’ve been able to stand the full minute and not wiggle around.  I was really in the zone.

It’s amazing how you can walk into a class crabby and have a great breakthrough minutes later!

60 Day Challenge Stats:

  • Class #2
  • Classes to go: 58
  • Days left: 55
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Challenging myself

So I’ve never done an exercise challenge, but these Bikram yoga people love some challenge.

I guess just showing up for a 90 minute, 107 degree class isn’t enough.  They have to get all cray cray and go for 30 days straight at unpredictable intervals throughout the year.

Actually, it’s a little more complicated than that.  It’s 30 classes in 30 days.  You don’t HAVE to go every day.  They do things called “doubles” where you do two classes in one day to make up if you take a day off.  The cool thing about my studio is that they also allow you to participate if you travel outside of Virginia Beach.  All you have to do is go to another Bikram studio nearby and get credit that way.  I don’t think I’m going anywhere in June but it’s nice for people who need that.

Anyway, as soon as I saw this 30 day challenge announcement, I was all over it.  It starts June 1.  I was hoping it would start on May 1 so I started thinking that I could just do my own May challenge.  Then, it hit me.

60 classes in 60 days.  My own 60 day challenge.

WHAT!

You know me, go big or go back to Cori. 

So I posted on their Facebook page real quick and said that I was super excited and was considering doing this 60 day challenge thing starting NOW.  Then I hit send.  So now it’s real.  They posted back that they would do everything they can to support me and hold me accountable.

That means I’m in it.  Both feet in.  Especially now, since it’s on the interweb.

I put together a two month calendar outlining how this is going to go down.  I know it’s possible because two people did a 60 day deal when they did the last 30 day challenge in January.  And they were total beginners too.

It’s crazy though. The whole thing is nuts.  

But it’s going to be great blog reading.  Imagine what mental breakdowns await me in 20 days?  I’ve only gone four days straight before.  You could all have a front row seat to my mental demise.

What about my body, you ask?  Isn’t this going to be too much?  Maybe, maybe not.  It’s called a challenge for a reason.  It’s challenging.  It challenges your body.  The good news is that I can sit my ass down in class if I’m feeling less than stellar on any given day and no one judges me.  I don’t have an instructor telling me to “push through it” or threatening me that I’ll never get buns of steel if I don’t push myself to do more than I am able.  

And here’s the other thing that makes me not freak out about this whole thing.  When I go, I feel great.  When I don’t go, I feel bad.  When I don’t go for more than two days in a row, I feel like I need to go get a massage.  So that tells me that I should go and just do the best I can.

So there you go.  60 classes by June 30.

I plan to blog about this and share my journey with you.  I’ve heard that the first time anyone does this, it’s a life-changing experience.

I can’t wait to see what happens.

 

Revisiting the “listen, we all have drama…but” post

Happy Thursday, everyone!  This has been the week that would not die.  I don’t know why some weeks go so fast and then other weeks you are counting the minutes every day.  It’s been one of those weeks for me.

Went to yoga last night and it was hot.  Like hot HOT.  You know when you stand too close to a campfire and your skin feels that burn?  It was like that before the class even started.  Pong came in and someone whimpered, “is it hot in here”?  We all internally whined in agreement and she said it was and turned it down.  I think it may have been because they were vacuuming and cleaning the room out before class and had the doors open but the heater on, so it was registering lower in temp until the doors shut.  It was seriously hot.  I had a pretty good class and only had to sit down for half of a posture in Triangle pose because I put my my legs too far apart for my current muscle strength abilities and got a bad muscle cramp in the back of my leg.

Besides that, I want to talk about drama and my post about my resolution to get rid of drama in January.  I’ve had several people around me comment about people around them who make them want to rip their hair out, and it got me thinking… It’s been a few months and I think I’m doing pretty well.  I have a few slip ups here and there but I tell you what, getting rid of the drama people in my world has been the best thing for me.  I now truly believe that you have to surround yourself with people who make you happy with no strings attached.

In addition to this, I started reflecting on how critical it is to tell those “good-vibes” people how important they are to you.  It is easy to become complacent in relationships (I’m talking beyond your domestic partner, family,  or whatever).  I’m talking about friends and people close to you.  In our culture, appreciation and affection are implied rather than spoken outright. Two guy friends call each other names to reinforce their friendship.  Feelings are almost never shared openly and freely. Consumer culture has cheapened our language of gratitude. Something like, “It’s so good to see you” or “hi, how are you” is pointless now because it’s what we say as a reaction to seeing someone during our day.  I think in our society it’s also sort of normal not to really be affectionate with people around you.  We think about Europe and Latin America- those people really are passionate, unabashedly affectionate with people around them.

So here is my step 2 of the “no drama people in my world” plan.  For the people that I’ve want to be around me, I’m going to be unabashedly affectionate towards them.  I’m going to hug freely, show that I appreciate and love them in any way I can.  I don’t get to see these people very day, so I’m going to be open about telling them that they are important to me and why.  I’m going to ask how they are doing and really listen when they tell me.  I’m going to be supportive when they need it, even if they don’t ask.

I’m going to express gratitude and affection any chance I get, because you never know if that will be the last time you’ll get that chance.

How to allow yourself to be a beginner

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I think it’s  important for everyone to remember this statement, not just in exercise activities, but in life.

For me, my journey over the past few years has been filled with a lot of beginnings.  Situations where I was over my head.  Work (new jobs), grad school, a dissertation, attempting to work out again, hurting myself, PT, and now where I’m at today.

It’s been a ride- one that could have been much easier if I would have just allowed myself to be a beginner.  But no, society expects us to be great at everything we do.  So when you fail at something, you immediately beat yourself up about it and feel guilty and stupid.

The reality is, we are all beginners in our own way.  And this is the lesson that I took to class with me last night.

There is another woman at the studio who started around the same time I did a couple of months ago.  She has progressed immensely in some of her postures.  In fact, she did a floor bow pose that was so impressive a couple of weeks ago, I actually said “that is awesome” in class, which was a little weird for her, I’m sure.  Immediately after I complimented her, I felt bad about myself.

I started to think about how slowly I’m progressing and for several classes I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other people in class.  I focused on my limitations, rather than my progress.

Then I found this quote.  I needed to allow myself to be a beginner. Not just recognize and acknowledge it, but also to allow myself to go at my own pace without being critical.  I hear it every time I go in to the studio- this is just one day, one class, your body during this one day and one class.  Start to accept what is happening today and forget about the last time you were here.  Stop worrying about your “future” body.  I understood it, but it didn’t really sink in until last week.

By truly accepting myself as a beginner, I am kind to myself.  By being kind to myself in class, I stop the mental chatter and am able to focus on the dialogue and feel more peaceful.

By being more peaceful, I am more in tune with my body, which is getting more excellent every day.